Microsoft relaxes Windows 7, 8.1 Skylake rules

March 21, 2016 // 2:33 p.m.

Tags: #eol #intel #microsoft #patch #patch-tuesday #skylake #support #windows #windows-10 #windows-7 #windows-81

Microsoft has partially backed down on requiring users of Intel's Skylake platform to be running the latest Windows 10 operating system in order to receive support, extending the upgrade window and offering full security patch coverage.

Microsoft angered customers earlier this year when it declared that support for systems running Intel Skylake processors would only be offered under Windows 10, and that anybody running an older build of Windows on Intel's latest and greatest chips - whether due to concerns about upgrading, lack of eligibility for the time-limited free upgrade offer, or for legacy support reasons - would cease to receive certain types of software patch. Although the company is still adamant that full support for Skylake is a Windows 10 exclusive, it has responded to criticism by softening the blow with the promise of continued security patches - even those related to microcode running on the processor itself - and an extra year's leeway for those looking to upgrade in the future.

Posting to Technet, Microsoft's general manager of Windows marketing Jeremy Korst explained the move. 'As we approached Intel’s Business Launch for Skylake in mid-January, we shared more details on our recommendations for enterprise customers on Windows 10, Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, including clarifications to our support policy for new silicon. A key part of this update was our commitment to continuing to lead with a customer-first approach. Since then we’ve received feedback from customers at various stages of planning and deployment of Windows 10.'

That feedback, Korst explained, means that users will now have until the 17th of July 2018 to upgrade to Windows 10 before support is pulled from Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, a year longer than previously. Longer-term, those who ignore the deadline will nevertheless continue to receive critical security patches on their Skylake Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 systems through to the official end of product lifetime of January 2020 and January 2023 respectively.
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